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What does a Child Life Specialist do?

The specialists from our Child Life Program help children recuperate from the emotional and physical effects of illness and hospitalization while they continue their normal development. In addition to the finest medical care available, the growing numbers of children who seek medical care at Good Samaritan require comfort and emotional support from professionals trained in children's unique developmental needs and specialized ways of coping. Certified by the Child Life Council, child life specialists are trained to use play, age-appropriate language, creative arts therapies, family centered care and distraction and relaxation techniques to help each child navigate the hospital experience using his or her best abilities for coping. 

Why is Play Important?

Play is the developmental work of children. Play provides opportunities to explore feelings and concerns, build trusting relationships, and gather information about the coping styles, fears and questions children may have about the hospital experience. Child life specialists use play to translate the hospital experience into a more familiar and soothing experience for children and families. Remembering to play, laugh and relax during difficult times has been shown to enhance and promote healing and recovery. 

When children pretend, they “play out” their fears and concerns and achieve a sense of mastery over new situations.


The Child Life Playroom and Garden

Tips for an Inpatient Stay at the Hospital

Helping Kids Cope

A Visit to the Pediatric Emergency Room

Preparation Tips by Developmental Age

Children with Special Needs

Preparation for Surgery 

Helping During Outpatient Procedures

After a Visit to the Hospital


Books and Websites for Kids and Families

Ways to Give and Volunteer